Access Ready Environments Resolution

Access Ready Environments Initiative Advocates for Inclusion in Every Environment for Individuals with Disabilities

A Resolution on Access Ready Environments

Whereas, the Americans With Disabilities Act, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, and other federal/state laws require that all new or updated buildings meet federal and state physical accessibility guidelines;

Whereas, the courts have upheld these requirements;

Whereas, the Americans With Disabilities Act requires that government services and places of public accommodation meet accessibility guidelines;

Whereas, the courts have upheld these requirements;

Whereas, the Americans With Disabilities Act requires that places of employment make reasonable accommodations to provide for the employment of people with disabilities;

Whereas, the courts have upheld these requirements;

Whereas, the cost of retrofitting or upgrading both buildings and technology is often held out as a reason not to provide accessibility;

Whereas, the unemployment rate among people with disabilities has remained unreasonably high, often approaching 85% for some disability groups;

Whereas, many with in the disability community are under employed and not allowed to reach their greatest potential;

Whereas, many potential employers give lip service to the law and the concept of employing people with disabilities, but these intentions are undermined by hiring managers who quietly fear the cost of making a workplace accessible;

Whereas, federal, state and local governments allocate hundreds of billions of dollars annually to the education, training and equipping of people with all types of disabilities so they may enter the work force successfully;

Whereas, this effort is being thwarted by a general lack of workplace accessibility, a total lack of understanding of the abilities of people with disabilities and in some cases outright discrimination;

Whereas, modern technology driven workplaces are often not readily accessible to potential employees with disabilities;

Whereas, accessible twenty-first century information technology has proven the ability to level the workplace playing field between employees with disabilities and their non-disabled counterparts;

Whereas, this same technology has proven the ability to make public facing portals to service, retail, and information delivery accessible to people with disabilities;

Whereas, inaccessible twenty first century technology creates unreasonable, punitive and costly barriers to people with disabilities;

Whereas, information technology is clearly the lifeblood of twenty-first-century employment and commerce;

Whereas, the cost of accessible technology, if required in advance, is marginally different from inaccessible products; and

Whereas, legal and moral precedent exists for the advance planning and implementation of Access Ready Environments;

Now, therefore, be it resolved by we, the Pinellas Council of the Blind assembled this 21st day of July, 2018 herein request and require that;

Federal, state and local governments, business and places of employment and public accommodation voluntarily implement all steps necessary to require that information technology managers, departments, developers, and providers take actions to impose Access Ready information technology environments in advance of their need in the same way that structures are required to be accessible in advance of their need; and

That the Congress of the United States and the legislative bodies of the various states take legislative action to require that Access Ready information technology environments be imposed under the appropriate titles of the Americans With Disabilities Act and supporting state statutes; and

That the Congress direct the United States Access Board or other appropriate bodies to set Access Ready information technology standards designed to create employment and public-facing environments that are or can easily be accessible to people with disabilities; and

That disability rights, consumer service organizations, and government departments serving people with disabilities take all steps to inform, notify and educate other departments, places of public accommodation including, but not limited to, potential employers of the need to implement Access Ready environment requirements in information technology purchases; and

That Federal, state and local government purchasing departments, along with those of business and commerce, impose Access Ready requirements on respondents to requests for proposals and other solicitations related to the purchase of information technology; and

That government and business information technology managers, departments, developers, and providers at all leadership levels engage with disability technology experts to review their current employee and public-facing systems to ascertain the necessary upgrades to create an Access Ready environment; and

That disability organizations and experts begin to examine public facing information technologies in order to inform the government and business owners of those systems of the issues found, and further to take appropriate actions to bring about changes that will provide Access Ready environments; and

Be it further resolved that the United States Department of Justice is hereby requested to review, investigate, monitor, report on and take action against employers and places of public accommodation who have a proven track record of avoiding, refusing to implement, and/or failing to otherwise provide for Access Ready information technology environments by policy, unreasonable budget restrictions, and/or supporting an atmosphere of institutional discrimination against people with disabilities; and

That individuals with disabilities, with the support of their friends, families and civil rights organizations, begin a grassroots campaign utilizing existing complaint and legal avenues to bring to the attention of government and business the need for immediate action to alter the course of technology development and implementation to include accessibility from the outset and not as a case by case afterthought; and

That organizations who provide services to, represent and/or are otherwise engaged with the disability community be vigilant on their own account to assure that they are setting an example of how to be Access Ready by imposing their own reviews to provide accessibility across their own information technology platforms; and

That the disability community as a whole resolve to call out, take action against, and economically boycott businesses/advertisers who continue to develop, promote and purchase inaccessible information technology; and

Be it finally resolved that Americans with disabilities are unwaveringly committed to making Access Ready information technology environments a standard across all areas of employment, public accommodation in government and commerce in order to make the twenty-first century a true time of access for all; and

That we herein put all on notice, whether they wish us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, and oppose any foe to assure that our posterity of Americans with disabilities shall not be forgotten in the technologically driven historic future of the world to come.